Essential DC, Life in the Capital, The District, Tourism

It’s Tourist Season: Share the Love

All photos by the author

A couple years ago the Social Chair and I were sitting at a bar when the couple next to us asked us a question. They said they’d overheard our conversation with the bartender and were looking for a restaurant recommendation, since they were visiting from out of town and wanted to try something other than their usual haunts. We got to talking about where they were from (“Outside Toronto”), and we mentioned that we were leaving in a week to go visit family and friends both in and outside Toronto. It was at this point in a conversation with a Canadian that I would usually get to play my trump card, since my sister lives in a town even most Ontario natives haven’t heard of. But when we told them the name of the town (West Montrose), they got a little wide-eyed. And then they asked, “which house?”

It turned out that these strangers, from “Outside Toronto,” had almost bought that very house, and after they didn’t buy it their friends did. Their friends, in fact, were the couple who sold the house to my sister and brother-in-law (and since my sister’s family is moving to The Hague, it’s for sale again). In this city you never know who you might meet.

Judging by what I’ve seen on Twitter, and a stale rant that has been making the rounds again (which I won’t dignify by linking here), tourist season has fallen hard on some of you (the fact that it arrives at the same time as allergy season also doesn’t help, I’m sure). But I ask your patience as I make this heartfelt plea: please be nice to tourists.

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Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of
‘a summer romance’ by ‘Blinkofanaye’

At 5:00 on any given Friday afternoon in the summer, Jazz in the  Garden is just getting started, and space quickly becomes scarce as hundreds of worker bees flock for a little wine, maybe a pitcher of (surprisingly potent for what you pay) sangria, a picnic and some tunes. It’s a grand way to spend an evening, even if by hour two you’re hot, sticky and a little closer than you’d like to be to the sweaty stranger who drank too much of that sangria.

Or you could do what this couple did: carve out a nice, cool space for themselves where the crowd couldn’t get to them. Sure, the police will come along eventually and escort you away (to the boos of the crowd), but in this moment, for these two people, none of that matters. All they feel is that cool, forbidden water on their feet, and all they see is each other. It takes a certain kind of guts to walk into a fountain and, ahem, dance like nobody’s watching. That’s the kind of guts we could all use more of.

We’re lucky Flickr user Blinkofaneye caught the moment so perfectly, with the fountain water glistening and half the crowd in the background oblivious to the scene unfolding right in front of them. He also caught the pair a moment later, hands entwined, proud smiles on their faces, and really, can you blame them? (Hat tip to Tracy Clayton, who tweeted the incident as it happened and also captured it and posted a play-by-play of their dance.)

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Woman Watching PDA by Matt.Dunn

When the drab days of winter finally yield to the refreshing days of spring, we see a transformation in our fine city.  The gray skies turn blue, the barren trees sprout leaves and flowers, and people swap their grumpy attitudes with feelings of love.  It makes you wonder, why is spring such a catalyst for love?  Does warmer weather encourage the production of hormones?  Is it because members of the opposite sex are wearing less clothing?  Or is there just something in the air?  Whatever the answer, there seems to be an awful lot of love going on in our Flickr pool.  We have people loving their cameras behind the bushes, gorillas spooning at the zoo, people loving their pooches, couples getting it on under the cherry blossoms, people hooking up on the ice, and even people making out where they’re supposed to, in a Make Out Room.  The couple above, clearly victims of love, just can’t get enough of each other.  But if Cupid’s springtime arrow hasn’t pierced your heart just yet, as may be the case for their onlooker, I have but one piece of advice for you: find a mate, don’t hate.

The Features

Why I Love DC: Samantha

Photo courtesy of
‘(heart) D.C.’
courtesy of ‘rockcreek’

I can’t tell you why I picked DC.  People ask me this question all the time when they first meet me and I just don’t have a ‘real’ answer.  Was it because of the political scene? Nope, I was about to enter a Masters program for Interior Design.  Was it because I had family here?  That would be another negative.  I got it; it must be because of the weather, right?  I am glad to say once again that weather was not the reason why I wanted to move to DC (perhaps on some subliminal level I foresaw the impending snow storms of 2009/2010).  The best answer that I can offer you is that I believe it was just a feeling that brought me here – a feeling that has since developed into a full-blown love affair.

That’s right everyone — I totally, utterly, completely, whole-heartedly love DC.   Continue reading

Life in the Capital, People, The District, The Features

Why I Love DC: Shannon

Photo courtesy of
‘dupont circle-6′
courtesy of ‘dr_kim_veis [''o ]‘

Ever since I joined We Love DC a few months back, I have been looking forward to writing this post.  I’m pretty much a DC fanatic and absolutely love living here, so this list could go on and on.  Lucky for you, I’ve narrowed it down to my five favorite things about this city:

It’s an urban planner’s dream.  Vibrant public spaces, sidewalks filled with pedestrians, revitalization, mixed use development close to transit, beautiful architecture, and downtown attractions that keep people here after the 9-5 workday are what makes this city a prime example of excellent urbanism.   There are only a handful of American cities that are even in the same league.  Sure, it’s got its problems, but the District is doing a lot of things right and is creating  great places to live, work, or play.

Also, DC lets this urban planner live her dream.  I live three blocks from my office, I don’t own a car because I can walk to four Metro stations, I’m within a few blocks of great restaurants and shopping, I’m a quick jog from Rock Creek Park, and I have a breathtaking view of the city from my rooftop patio.  I don’t know another American city where I could have all of that.

DC is full of history, myths, and legends.  Sure, half the legends about the city are not true, and probably 95% of what you hear on a Capitol tour is probably made up, but they make for great stories.  It’s pretty cool to live in a city full of historical significance, and to be able to show out-of-town friends our city (even if we avoid the national monuments and memorials at all other times).  It’s also a great feeling to be a part of DC’s ongoing history– I know I will someday tell my grandkids about what it was like to be in Washington during Barack Obama’s inauguration.

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The Daily Feed

Bicycles and Love Poems

Photo courtesy of
‘Tennessee Tandem Rally 2008′
courtesy of ‘tandemracer’
Love and zipping along on a bicycle–the two concepts are easy to connect on beautiful days like this.

Poet Nikki Giovanni had a slightly different idea in mind with her latest collection, Bicycles: Love Poems, titled so “because love requires trust and balance.” She’ll be discussing her works next Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Busboys and Poets at 5th and K.

Maybe it’ll put you in the mood to make a date with a special someone and your two-wheeled friends for a weekend spin or Bike to Work Day, coming up on Friday, May 15th. Just try not to swoon all over the road, okay?

Life in the Capital, People, The Features

Why I Love DC

‘Cherry Blossoms at Tidal Pool’
courtesy of ‘mtngirl9999′

Some people have affairs when they want something new and exciting. I moved to DC instead.

I’d lived most of my life in Richmond, the land of generations-old traditions and flowery dresses. But eventually I felt smothered there, and I wanted out. So I fled north, 100 miles yet worlds away, to live among what a friend’s mother called “those Virginia Yankees.”

In DC, I found room to breathe. Continue reading


Why I Love DC: Don

If you think I’m wrong, say so, but I’d suggest that it’s a lot easier to talk about why you dislike something than why you hate something. Hate or simple dislike is easy. One or two things bug you enough that it outweighs your enjoyment, and identifying them is simple. After all, they’re eating at you. Love and like are harder. People, meals, paintings, songs, places… we love them not for that one trait, that particular spice, that bassline, but because they add up to something more.

I’m having that problem telling you what it is that I love about DC. I could fill your screen with all the things here that delight me, but I don’t think that would really answer the question. Besides, so many things you could respond by saying “you could have that lots of places.” For instance – having grown up in Miami, I can put seasons near the top of the list. I think those of you who grew up seeing fall colors don’t fully grasp the magic. There’s a subtlety to the change that sneaks up on me. Perhaps it’s different for some of you, but every April I have a moment where I suddenly realize I can’t see through that cluster of trees – where’d those leaves come from all of a sudden?

Some things are a little more specifically regional, like Maryland Blue Crab. More specific to us, I love the Smithsonian, not just because it’s wonderful, but because it has completely ruined me for museums everywhere else I travel in the world. Wait, I have to pay to get in? Are you nuts? The way I feel when I look down the mall and see the Washington Monument, which in my six years here I don’t think has ever failed to make me smile… can I even claim that a feeling is a reason? That’s like saying I love DC because I love DC.

Maybe that is the reason. I love it because it’s never stopped giving me things about it to love. Weather, museums, scenic vistas, music, theater, sports, events… Its no different than loving a person – you could certainly get some or all of those things elsewhere, but that entire package together in that ratio is unique, and it keeps giving. The most recent treasure DC gave me was that my darling girlfriend agreed to become my darling fiancée here – on the under-appreciated Roosevelt Island – and that’s going to be a hard one to top.

But I’ve got faith.